dragon Geschutzwagen 38 H
By Patrik Spett
Dragon 6470, Geschutzwagen 38 H or for short "Grille H". H stands for "heck" which means that the engine is placed in the rear, and there is a later M version (mitte) which had the engine placed in the center of the vehicle.The M version is very similar to the Marder III M and this H version have some similarity to the Marder III H, except, of course, the superstructure. There are no surviving vehicles in good condition, just a rusted wreck in Austria, so references are scarce but I do have Nuts & Bolts excellent issue featuring this vehicle. They sell their books directly from nuts-bolts.de. All pictures are from Nuts&Bolts Vol. 26 unless stated otherwise.
I bought this kit a few years ago but now boosted it with a few good aftermarket stuff. The Griffon set, BPL35004, covers the entire vehicle with photo etched parts. More stuff are Friulmodel tracks, ATL-13, CMK German radio set, Aber 2m antenna and Verlinden ammo and stowage. A metal barrel is included in the kit.
This model will be a challenge to build with all that photo etch. It is time consuming to always have to check the instruction sheets from both Dragon and Griffon, so I don't mess things up. On top of that I have to check the references as I go.
As usual the build starts with the wheels. There is a choice on both front and tail wheels but I have not seen any references which support the wheels I didn't choose.
Use the parts on the left in this picture.
There is also a choice for the suspension, use the leaf suspension part without a hole in the middle. I added a little damage to the rubber on the wheels so they look more like they were used, not factory new. Also if you build Dragon kits they have text on the return rollers "Continentau", scrape of little of the last letter so it becomes the correct L (if you don't, someone will notice and harass you for it). Edit: I realized that the track-teeth would have scraped off all texture on the return rollers, so I removed that texture.
Lower hull Interior
The next step is to start with the front interior, drivers position. The picture of the wreck in Austria gives some info. The pipe is wrong in the kit so I cut it off and will replace it with a correct placed pipe. The steering lever in the lower left of the picture is placed right where Griffon want to have the driver instrument panel, I will have to find another location for that but obviously some of the cables in the red tape should connect to it. The interior color below the superstructure will be white, mostly. The frame is there to hold a kind of padding for the driver, dragon placed in a little wrong position because of the cable mentioned above.
Dragon didn't supply a handbrake at all but Griffon did. The picture is from a Marder III H (Nuts&Bolts Vol. 18) and it shows a rod running past the hand brake, this is connected to the gas pedal.
I added a little bit of plasticard and worked the soft parts of the seat and wall padding to look a bit more realistic. The seat is modified with 11 small PE parts. The rivets behind the handbrake was sanded down, but not completely, as shown in the picture. Dragon didn't provide any foot pedals but Griffon did.
They forgot to include a support beam that runs from side to side under the drivers seat. I also added some bolts. Picture is from a Marder III H (Nuts&Bolts Vol. 18)
The transmission went on without problems but I had to correct the drivers seat, made a new seat from plasticard. I didn't glue the transmission or seat yet, will do that after painting. There are also some rods missing from the steering handles to the wheels.
Moving on to the wall between the fighting compartment and the engine compartment. This part consist of just one single part in the dragon kit but there are a few mow parts in the PE kit. I used most of these and added some self made parts from plasticard. The box above the main switch is a fuse box for the radio system and the cable coming out from the bottom of it should go to the battery and the cable coming out from the top of the box runs along the top of the firewall to the radios on the inside of the left superstructure.
The fire extinguisher in the kit looks all wrong so I modified it with some plasticard. The image shows clearly that the floor is painted dark, dark grey I guess and that the fire extinguisher could be red.
Time to paint the lower hull fighting compartment, the floor will be grey, the front walls will be white and the rear part of the fighting compartment will be dark yellow. The dividing line between white and grey is clearly seen in the image below. That same line is visible in several photos of the wreck, only that grey is exchanged for dark yellow.
I added some stuff in the empty area to the left of the gearbox, surely the crew wouldn't have let such a space stay empty. I will put more stuff there so it look rather busy. I also tried to get the black leather in the drivers seat look better.
Added some more stuff, the PE ammo box from Griffon is a kit in itself. They also provide decals for the 4 boxes.
Time to do the subassemblies for the inner side of the side armor. The drivers periscope lacked the part that is visible from the outside but I found a clear part in the spares box that I could make to fit.
Griffon of course have PE ammoboxes, 12 of them, that will be place on the right side.
I changed the appearance of the crew seats as they look a bit dull.
On the right backside of the gun shield is a first aid box but Griffons PE part is too small compared to Dragons box so I have to make a new part for this. I regrettably lack a decal "Verbandskasten" for this box but maybe I can find a red cross decal somewhere.
After more than a month long brake from modelbuilding I started to do the superstructure walls. The radio racks were a really tight fit but I finally got them right.
And the gunshield..
The walls are started to get some paint. The problem is to find out how to do all cabling for the radios.
DISASTER! A nasty little accident happened when i dropped my magnifying glasses and spilled out a half bottle of Tamiya glue on some parts. The worst parts are the gun breech and the gun cradle. i have a resin chair for the commander and I have rear superstructure doors in PE anyway.
Not so bad after all. I had a seat in resin, the back doors are supplied in Griffons PE set, the gun breech damaged was the wrong one (there are two in the kit) and the rest was easy to fix. The part to the right is the kit part and note the difference in size between that and the resin seats, the kit seat look a bit too small.
I have glued one side of the superstructure.
Back after a long summer...
So I painted the whole thing, and did some weathering on the wheels because I wan't that done before I put on the tracks.
Then on with the tracks, Friulmodel.
First I painted them i light brown.
Then track wash.
And some metal-color.
I weathered the vehicle with dust and sand pigments.
I painted the exhaust with different sorts of rust pigments and rust washes.
Exhaust after some added dust.
Some detail, map and headphones.
The drivers glassshield got a slight tint of crystalgreen, it looks much better.
I tested to add an branch from, supposedly a remnant from a week old foliage cover.
Now it is finished, finally.